NEW YORK — The premise for Jason Ritter’s new ABC series, “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World,” may seem far-fetched. A man named Kevin encounters a meteor and meets a celestial being who informs him that he’s been chosen by God to save humanity.
But first he must work on himself.
Ritter says he wasn’t sure about the show’s premise but the script changed his mind.
“Even though there’s this fantastical element, it felt like all of his reactions were real,” the 37-year-old actor said in a recent interview.
Ritter said it’s not always easy to make make-believe believable — and that’s something actors can struggle with.
“It didn’t come naturally to me at all,” he said. “You are trying to tell the truth of your character but it’s all a big lie so you’re trying to be honest within a huge lie.”
Ritter said he’s learned that it comes down to “giving yourself permission to be yourself.”
“The trap that I fall into is, ‘Oh, this character is tough or this character is cool, so here’s what I’ve seen before or here’s my idea of it,’ but for the most part, unless you really are that cool — like Harrison Ford, he just really is that cool — it comes off as false.”
Ritter said his training as an actor has helped him become comfortable with just being.
“With most crafts you learn more as you go but acting seems more of a process of unlearning and becoming more vulnerable,” he said.
He also credits his role on NBC’s “Parenthood,” where many of the scenes were improvised, for helping him get into the moment.
“We were improvising and it felt like we were not doing anything, we just were talking to each other. I learned a lot just watching everybody on that show.”
Ritter hopes viewers appreciate his show’s positivity in a time of turmoil.
“We’re at such a divided point in this country and in the world and it’s sort of nice to be reminded that there are more things that we have in common with each other.”
“Kevin (Probably) Saves the World” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. Eastern.